by Caleb Kaiser
Slugging clover-whiskey till our guts
waterlogged, heaving starlight
through our eyes. We stopped singing
when our throats grew embers, cherried
and popped like dandelion dandruff.
We went groping for the choir in
the maize, to fashion ourselves
as make-believe madrigals. The sky
wasn’t skin. It turns out all we heard
was wind harping the stalks. Let’s
swan-dive onto coral, snap our spines
and be salt-soaked stems in the roar.
We wriggled from the creek-clay. Muddy
mandrakes squawking by the stream.
Slowly, we silenced, stiffening to staccato
sprigs of mud-brick limbs, songs
buzzing behind our eyes, stinging whirls
beneath our hips. It takes a wave. My father’s
death-rattle racked my reddish plasture;
sour notes screeching, my wispy breath
turned to torrents. It takes a storm. I gathered
my mangled feathers into clouds, filled
my shrunken skin with crushed shells.
Ripped-winged moths limp around a flame,
reassembling themselves into a humming
patchwork. This is where we started, fumes
chasing what leaked out of the break.
What I Want For You
There’s the daydream of bleeding
the wax from the townfolk, to prove
our bodies are snakeskin-mache.
I’d like to walk a tightrope
through their eyes. I’d like to teach them
how to smoke. We all wonder
how good those ribbons taste. Why not
take those coils of cadaver breath
and swallow them whole? But more than
my need to make myself a myth
I want to turn my teeth into a nest.
Before my veins chafe ivy, I want
my baby sisters warm. Before
my guts are hung with red wire, I want
you to wear my sternum like a skirt.
Caleb Kaiser is an 18 year old poet and artist from Kentucky/Cincinnati. He is a staff member of Able Projects and the Adroit Journal. You can find his work forthcoming or published most recently in PANK and DIAGRAM. He has a thing for storms, and he takes flowers very seriously.